Monday, December 24, 2012

A Tribute to the Dentist

At 7:35 AM on the morn of  Christmas Eve most children were snuggled in their beds dreaming of sugarplum fairies and most adults were drinking coffee by a tree or doing last minute Christmas shopping, I was doing none of those things. Instead, I was reaping the consequences of too many sugar cookies during the month of December and getting THREE cavities filled. Three.

In all reality, it was as pleasant as a trip to the dentist could be. My dentist is funny, kind, and gentle, and she even gave me a stuffed bunny to hold while my cavities were being filled. I wanted to ask to take a photo of the fluffy bunny for this post, but I had already made the stuffed bunny wave to the dental hygienist when she walked in the door and dance to that "Last Christmas" song on the radio, I figured taking a picture would be one step too far.

My only purpose in writing this blog is to share the ridiculousness of getting cavities filled on Christmas Eve and to make a little tribute to the dentist. Below is a paper I wrote for a college creative writing class and I thought it was rather appropriate to share today.

The Dentist: Friend turned Foe?
I have good news and bad news. Even though people usually say they want to hear the bad first, I’m going to go ahead and start with the good news: you get to leave work early. The bad news? You have a dentist appointment. You could be leaving work early to go to the dentist for a number of reasons: a root canal, a broken tooth, or you might just want to take advantage of your health insurance in combination with your paid sick leave and get out of work at two instead of five. Perhaps you are scheduled just for a regular checkup; possibly during which your dentist will offer you a choice between gritty flavored toothpastes, such as cherry or fruit punch.  After that tough decision has been made, your dentist will proceed to scrape your teeth with some invasive metal instrument. Maybe you need a cavity filled, which will most likely end with your dentist giving you the sage advice that you really should be flossing more.
I have to bring it up . . .the smell. You can smell the dentist’s office while you are still standing outside. Even Mother Nature cannot conquer the stench. It is potent enough to cover up the smells of the fall leaves, the fresh grass, blooming flowers, or new snow. I googled what this smell is and found many Facebook pages dedicated to the hatred of the dentist office smell, multiple studies on how this smell evokes fear in people, and a list of origins for this smell which includes an extensive list of unpronounceable chemicals . . .and bone. Yes, bone. Part of what you smell when you enter a dentist’s office is the bone of the teeth that were drilled out of those who have come before you.
One Thursday afternoon, I was making my very own trip to the dentist to get a cracked tooth fixed. After I made it through the force field of the too recognizable stench that protects the door to the dentist office, I found myself alone in the waiting room with nothing but four other empty chairs, a plant posing as a miniature tree in the corner, and a magazine holder hanging from the wall to keep me company. There was no music playing, no mother comforting a crying child; all I heard was the sound of the drill. Having music playing in the waiting room at the dentist’s office is not an innovative idea; it is common sense. So, I went to the magazines. Reading about celebrities’ lives in People or UsWeekly is a guilty pleasure and a waiting room gives a justifiable reason. No luck. I found Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, Family Circle, and Woman’s Day. I have neither husband nor garden. And what were to happen if a man needed to get a cavity filled? Or, maybe all of the men just floss regularly.
During my lunch break on that Thursday, I was talking to my coworkers about the fact that I was going to leave early to have my broken tooth fixed. The third grade teacher told me to bite my dentist. The fifth grade teacher told me she would rather go to the gynecologist than the dentist. Is the dentist really such a pure form of evil? I don’t get this stream of negativity when I talk about other doctors, such as a foot doctor, skin doctor, or eye doctor. Then again, an optometrist doesn’t have to drill into my eyeballs. I remember the next comment as if it were a preview to a bad horror movie. Almost in slow motion, the sixth grade teacher looked up form her sandwhich (mid-bite) and had a look of warning in her eye as she said to me, “If I had to battle the devil or the dentist, I’d choose the devil.” 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Eat Your Colors!

Usually referring to vegetables, but in this case...cookies!
My cousin sent me a text yesterday that said, "you can never have too many women in one kitchen." Clearly, she was being sarcastic because we all know too many women in a kitchen is a recipe for disaster. However, yesterday I had a day of success with lots of babies, girls, and women all baking in one kitchen.
The women in my family have a christmas cookie baking party every year, as many families do. Mothers, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and cousins all come together bringing either their recipe or their dough to make their cookies. Some are old favorites, like the peanut butter balls, and some are new experiments, like the red velvet cake cookies.

Cookie parties are a great way to share recipes with one another, learn how to bake a new cookie, and spend some quality time with people you love. Some tricks we've picked up to make it a success and not a war zone:
1. Make your dough the night before.
2. Bring your own supplies (mixing bowls, measuring cups, ingredients, candies, etc)...and some extras for those who forgot.
3. Delegate easy cookie decorating tasks to small children, like rolling in powdered sugar and sprinkling toppings on.
4. If you can, pick a kitchen that has more than one oven.
5. Organize the order of the baking of the cookies via temperature (i.e. start with the 350's first and work your way up).
7. Ask the people who don't like to bake to be the dish washer-ers.
8. Go for a run before the party and eat a very healthy breakfast so you can eat cookies the rest of the day.
9. Have a designated area for all of your finished cookies to cool.
10. Be patient, take pictures, and its ok if your cookies don't turn out. You'll end up with way too many when the party is over, anyway.

Look at all those colors! We laughed, baked, and ate, and when the party was over, everyone took home a wide variety of cookies filled with memories, yumminess, love, and sugar.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Glitter Ornaments

Who loves sparkly, glittering ornaments all over their tree? I do! Who hates all that glitter that inevitably falls off said ornaments, coats everything within ten feet, and leaves traces all over your house with no hope of removal? I do!

Please stop asking these obvious questions, you are probably thinking right now.

Voila! I have a solution and I'm just tickled that I sort of thought of it all on my own (meaning it wasn't something I directly found on Pinterest).

A couple weeks ago I bought a package of six clear glass ornaments from Michaels ($3) figuring I would find something to do with them.

The first one was a pinspiration. I cut up old Christmas cards in strips, twirled them around a pencil and slid them into the ornament. Nothing too difficult and some friends were impressed, but I felt it didn't scream amazing.

Yesterday I got together with some friends for a crafty afternoon and I brought my ornaments. I had been playing around with the idea of "glittering" them, but I still wanted to be able to write on them or stencil. Also, the thought of glitter all over me for days was a bit nauseating. Here is the finished product (pre-stenciled)

I think they are really neat!

The finished one below I just added some really cute snowflake scrapbook sticker embellishments. They have little blue rhinestones on them. It was perfect for my ornament exchange party, except that I sort of wanted to keep it for myself.

Here is what I did and what you'll need: Clear glass ornament, Mod Podge (I made my own- equal parts water and Elmers glue), and glitter (I used embossing glitter, which is finer, but any glitter would probably work).

First you need to coat the inside of your ornament with a very thin layer of Mod Podge. Remove the metal top. I poured a tiny bit in, shook it around, and even put a little water in to make it thinner and so it coated the entire inside. Make sure you empty out any extra liquid- otherwise you will probably get clumps. Next you pour in glitter. A funnel would probably help, but I didn't have one and made a little bit of a mess. I poured in a little at a time and shook it around with the metal top back on. I removed the metal prongs that hold the top on so it doesn't scratch the wet glitter on the inside. Keep this up until the entire inside of your ornament is covered. Leave the top off and let dry overnight. Wow! Now you have this gorgeous little ornament you can write little messages on the outside, and give them as gifts without friends groaning at the thought of sparkles!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The 12 Gifts of Christmas

So I was trying to come up with a gift for my husband for Christmas this year and couldn't think of anything! I was searching the web for ideas when I came upon the coupon book idea. I liked this idea, but I wanted to give something a bit more tangible, so I decided to give the 12 Gifts of Christmas. One gift for every day leading up to Christmas. I liked some of the ideas other women came up with for their coupon books, so I incorporated some of those ideas such as, a back massage and breakfast in bed. I also came up with some of my own ideas such as his favorite candy, a gift card to Subway for lunch that day, a dinner of his choice, etc.

To dress up the little cards I made for each day, I got some bell garland from the Dollar Store. I cut out each bell and laced the bells to the cards with some red ribbon.

His free lunch!

                                                                  His favorite candy!

I can't wait to start the 12 Days of Christmas!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wedding Fun!

So this past weekend my husband and I traveled to Reading, PA for my brother-in-law's wedding. It was an absolutely gorgeous wedding that went off without a hitch despite several very tense days of stress (not my stress - I got to be an observer for this Allen wedding)!

Being the crafty, DIY type person that I am, I was on the look out for any crafty or clever idea that I could poach to put on this blog and indeed I found it. I feel like every wedding that I go to, I find something in it that I think to myself, "Gosh I wish I had thought of that for my wedding", but it is what it is. ;).

 My mother-in-law actually came up with this idea. At the reception hall, four wine bottles were put out beside the guest book. Each wine bottle had a label on it that had the bride and groom's names on it and an anniversary date. One was for their first anniversary, one for their 5th, for their 10th, and for their 25th. In addition to signing the guest book, people could write a message on these wine bottles for them to read on each of these anniversaries! How cute is that!!! One of Dan's aunts wrote on the 25th Anniversary wine bottle, "I am 80 now, but still wishing you many wedding blessings". Amazing. Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the wine bottles, so I scoured the internet to find a picture of what it looked like at the reception. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reached Mid-Book Inspiration

My favorite distraction is a good book, but the problem with a good book is that it always seems to end and I am faced with the task of finding another good book to read.

However, the best part of a series is that it eliminates the task of finding the next book...until you reach the last book in the series, of course. 

Unfortunately for me, I am on the last book of a series. I am currently reading Reached, preceded by book 2, Crossed, and book 1, Matched

I can't give a review yet because I am in the midst of trying to figure out the unrevealed secretes of the book, but I can offer a passage that speaks perfectly to sharing Clever Knacks. 

A brief introduction: A "utopian" society has almost completely removed from people all forms of art and almost the idea of art, especially the creation of it. There are a few people who write letters in the ground, have music in them, or are able to sculpt and paint, but clearly these talents are hidden from Society. The passage I found came at a moment where a two people just discovered they could share their creations (where as previously the mere thought of creation was stifled and the only forms of art that were left from history were considered artifacts and only used in trading, never just shared). 

"..I let this knowledge rise within me like a song. 
I am not the only one writing. 
I am not the only one creating. 

I realize all over again that we don't need to trade our art-we could give, or share. Someone could bring a poem, someone else a painting. Even if we took nothing away, we would all have more, having looked on something beautiful or heard something true"(Reached, Ally Condie). 

This passage struck me to share because that is exactly what we are doing in our world today- in pinterest, blogs, even on facebook. We are sharing our creations with one another and, hopefully, promoting a culture that cultivates beauty and truth. We take pride in what we create and in what others have created. Amongst all the things our society is obsessed with, I feel like this obsession with sharing our creations (while slightly narcissistic ..), is not the worst obsession. It might even be a trend that promotes goodness, life, beauty, and positivity. 

This book talks about a Society that suffocates art. As many aspects as there are in our society that I disapprove of, I have to say this new trend of sharing food, crafts, fashion, music, etc. is a refreshing spark of life .


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Unproductive Crafter

I love crafts. Said everyone who is on the internet and has a Pinterest account. I want to make all of my family and friends homemade gifts and save lots of money for Christmas while giving from the heart, said all those addicted to manically adding other people's ideas to their one of fifty "boards". Well whoever said that this would save me money, was lying. Or perhaps no one ever said that and it was one of many unjustified assumptions I make.

Well enough of the Pinterest hating, because I'll admit it, I really like Pinterest. But it's seriously detrimental to my productivity. I have the worst personality to combine with any type of social media.

Number One: I'm a sucker for pretty things and I get really excited about ideas.
Number Two: I'm the world's worst procrastinator
Number Three: I love to shop

Here is the situation: I have over fifty projects on my "Craft" Board and have successfully finished one. This one finished project left me with such an immense feeling of satisfaction that I have been unable to finish another. However, this great triumph has not prevented me from raiding several crafts stores and coming home with dozens of items for multiple future projects that I will continue to dream and think about.

Diagnosis: Severe addiction to viewing lovely homemade items and compulsive shopper.

Prognosis: This unfortunate condition will only continue unless a strong inducement to productivity arises.

Prescription: Have a blog so you have to complete things so you have something to talk about

Ok, well we'll see how that goes. Here's to finishing four jars of bath salts, two pairs of earrings, and an original magnetic alphabet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Welcome to A Clever Knack, a joint effort by some awesomely close, college friends! A work in progress.